Bullous pemphigoid is an acute or chronic autoimmune skin disease, involving the formation of blisters, more appropriately known as bullae, at the space between the skin layers epidermis and dermis. It is classified as a type II hypersensitivity reaction, with the formation of anti-hemidesmosome antibodies.
In most cases of bullous pemphigoid, no clear precipitating factors are identified. Potential precipitating events that have been reported include exposure to ultraviolet light and radiation therapy. Onset of bullous pemphigoid has also been associated with certain drugs, including furosemide, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, captopril,penicillamine, and antibiotics.
The most common symptom of pemphigoid is blistering that occurs on the arms, legs, abdomen, and mucous membranes. Hives and itching are also common. The blisters have certain characteristics, regardless of where on the body they form: they are often preceded by a red rash, they are large and filled with fluid that is usually clear, but may contain some blood they are thick and do not rupture easily, the skin around the blisters may appear normal or slightly red or dark, ruptured blisters are usually sensitive and painful.
Pemphigoid cannot be cured, but treatments are usually very successful at relieving symptoms. Corticosteroids, either in pill or topical form, will likely be the first treatment your doctor prescribes. These medications reduce inflammation and can help to heal the blisters and relieve itching. However, they can also cause serious side effects, especially from long-term use, so your doctor will take you off of the corticosteroids after the blistering clears up. Another treatment option is to take medication that suppresses your immune system, often in conjunction with the corticosteroids. Immunosuppressants help, but they also put you at risk for other infections. Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline, may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation and infection.
We found three distinct ‘linear’ fluorescence patterns at the basement membrane zone: true linear, n-serrated and u-serrated. The true linear pattern, often seen in conjunction with either the n- or the u-serrated pattern, was found in any subepidermal immunobullous disease with nongranular depositions. In bullous pemphigoid, mucous membrane pemphigoid, antiepiligrin cicatricial pemphigoid, p200 pemphigoid and linear IgA disease the n-serrated pattern was found, corresponding with depositions located in hemidesmosomes, lamina lucida or lamina densa. However, in EBA and bullous systemic lupus erythematosus the u-serrated staining pattern was seen, corresponding with the ultralocalization of type VII collagen in the sublamina densa zone. The diagnosis of EBA with IgG or IgA autoantibodies directed against type VII collagen was confirmed by immunoelectron microscopy, salt-split skin antigen mapping, fluorescence overlay antigen mapping or immunoblotting.